Monday, February 27, 2012

I Didn't Rob A Bank

Monday, February 20th 2012: 30 miles @ 11:57 minutes per mile. This was my longest run since the Javelina Jundred. I started running a little before 6am and it was bitter cold outside. How cold? So cold that I wore this:

Don't worry. I only felt half tempted to rob a bank. I wouldn't have dared to wear this if I ran in the neighborhood. I think that could be asking for trouble. My brother-in-law said I looked like a spelunking burglar.

My biggest problem for the first 7-8 miles was that the water tube on my hydration pack kept freezing. For a while it was completely frozen. The good thing is that the ground was frozen also. Once the sun came up, certain sections were pretty muddy and slippery.

Although it was really pretty watching the sun come up and start to light up the red mountains. (And did I mention that it was freezing cold?)

I'll be honest, this was a tough run for me. I didn't feel awesome for the last 8ish miles. 30 miles on trails is hard. A few times I thought to myself "Wow, what have I done? How in the world am I going to run 100 miles here? Maybe you should go back to 5k races instead." My right knee started to get tight and sore so I was definitely glad to be done.

Tuesday, February 21st 2012: Rest. The ol' knee was still gettin' it's tight on.

Wednesday, February 22nd 2012: Rest. I must be inviting bad karma somewhere in my life because I walked into a gas station and the speaker was playing a Michael Bolton song. I am being honest. After my anti-Bolton comments last week I was shocked to hear one of his songs. This is 2012 for crying out loud! Who in their right mind thinks to them self "Yea, I think this Michael Bolton song would be good to put on the rotation for the gas station music." Ahhhh, the humanity.

Thursday, February 23rd 2012: 7 miles @ 12:47 minutes per mile. Those couple rest days made a huge difference and I was surprised how much better my knee felt. I am so thankful. I ran on the Prospector Trail and the scenery is just incredible.

I know the upcoming picture looks like I'm jumping off this rock. But that's not what happened. It was so insanely windy that I just lifted my arms and went flying into the air. The city I live in is named Hurricane. This day was yet another reminder of how the city got it's name. (Actually, almost everyday gives another reminder.)

I saw this on the way home just to show you how hard the wind was blowing. Just out of screen shot is a semi truck flying overhead. And I heard little people singing "We'd like to welcome you to Munchkin Land!" Creepy.

Friday, February 24th 2012: 4 miles @ 10:08 minutes per mile. Just a short early morning pre-work run.

Saturday, February 25th 2012: I went on a bike ride with the wife. Great times were had by all.

We happened to cruise past an aid station for a century ride going on in the city. I joked with Mel that we should have stopped for breakfast. Nobody would have ever known that we weren't part of the organized ride.

I think the weather will be warming up so no more wearing the burglar mask. And if someone robs a Hostess store wearing something similar, I wasn't me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

When Ostriches Attack

Ostriches like to eat fingers. Seriously! Just ask my daughter.

A few years ago the family headed up the road to Zion National Park. Our kids begged to stop and look at an ostrich farm along the way. We agreed, though we regretted that decision after the trauma that ensued.

We bought a little bag of food that spectators can throw through the fence for the ostriches to eat. The kids were ecstatic to have this opportunity. We quickly realized the folly of our purchase.

Those ostriches were so completely ugly! They looked like God's practical joke on the animal kingdom. The children were as happy as could be, ostrich food was flying everywhere, smiles were pasted on faces, and life was simply magical. But then......

A loud shriek shattered the excitement. Danica was screaming in pain. She ran toward the car. Tears were streaming. The screaming continued. And continued. And.....continued.

Apparently, when little children nonchalantly grab the fence, their fingers look like delicious little Vienna Sausages. Suddenly ostriches aren't so interested in ostrich food. Human flesh seems much more appetizing.

Fortunately, no blood was spilled. No fingernails were lost. And we realized that it is incredibly difficult to appear sympathetic when you are laughing. The ostrich owner witnessed the brutality and brought Danica an ostrich feather. Apparently ostrich feathers have magical healing powers because she quickly stopped crying. So let this be a lesson to you kids. Don't feed your fingers to ostriches.

For all of you who are brave enough to see how much ostriches love to eat humans, check out this highly funny video:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Amazing Running Video and A Winner

I saw this video on Ryan's blog a few days ago about a runner named Ben Comen. Ryan said that this video "would move you to tears". Yea, right. I'm a man. I'm pretty sure I won't be moved to tears. Bring it on.

I hate to admit it.....but Ryan was right. Please, do yourself a favor and watch this clip. I'd dare say it's some of the best 8 minutes you'll have all day.

Also, I'm happy to announce that Kara from It's A Dog Lick Baby World is the proud owner of the CDs, Subway card, and some Gu. You ought to visit her blog while you're at it. She's what you would call - very funny.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Devil and The Angel

I have been building miles for a while so it was time for an easy week.

Monday, February 13th 2012: It was pouring rain and just miserable outside. Would you like to know exactly how miserable? I ran 5 miles on the dreadmill. Admittedly, it wasn't too bad. While I ran I watched the movie Forks Over Knives. It's about diet and health in our country. I thought it was interesting. Have you seen it?

Tuesday, February 14th 2012: I celebrated love by eating a pink frosted sugar cookie the size of my hand. These things are slightly dangerous. I often say I'll eat half now and half later. And then before I know it....the whole thing has evaporated.

Wednesday, February 15th 2012: 18 miles @ 12:24 minutes per mile. This run was, in a word, miserable. Eating cauliflower while listening to a duet with Michael Bolton and Celine Dion in my bedroom would have been more enjoyable than this run. On a scale of 1 to 10 for how awesome this run was, I'd rank it .0073.

Another 3,000 foot elevation gain run in the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve accompanied by a hefty supply of wind, rain, mud, and a dash of snow. It was unrelenting. There was no break. I was happy to find a little cave to get out of the rain for a few minutes.

As amazing as the trails are around here, they are torture not very fun when wet. It's not your average mud. It is two inches of modeling clay on the bottom of your shoes. No use trying to get it off because it will pile back on with the next step. It is like trying to run on a sheet of butter. Hence my embarrassing pace which doesn't even take into account the times I stopped to shake my fists at the sky and beg it to stop raining while I tried to hold back tears take a picture.

It wasn't just the weather's fault though. I just couldn't get the juices going. I thought my Garmin watch was broken because the miles were dragging by so slowly. Many sections of the trail were great for exploring but not really fast for running. For example, the times I passed through dry river beds:

I had an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other shoulder shouting at me the entire 18 miles. The conversation went something like this:

Devil: You have got to be kidding! This is insanity. I want to go home.
Angel: Suck it up! Are you a man, or are you a Muppet?
Devil: If your family saw you out here, they would commit you to a mental institution.
Angel: Wow, even with warm gloves you have an uncanny ability to develop corpse fingers when it's cold outside! Very impressive!
Devil: Trying to run 18 miles on butter is just plain useless and dumb.
Angel: Mmmmmmmmmm. Butter.

My only saving grace was a new water-proof jacket I just bought. I was still cold and miserable but at least the top part of me wasn't drenched.

I don't mean to complain. I'm sorry. Nobody wants to hear whining. In retrospect I should have just run on the road and saved myself the hassle. But the scenery really was beautiful. And maybe this really crappy run will be good training for races in the future.

Thursday, February 16th 2012: Rest.

Friday, February 17th 2012: Our family went on a hike in Confluence Park. This hike is just a few minutes from our house but most neighbors don't even know it's here. We had a blast.

We took Ace and he seriously thought he had died and gone to heaven.

Jackson was throwing rocks in the river and I caught this splash:

We wanted to stay longer but we were trying to beat the sunlight so we wouldn't have to hike home in the dark. We'll definitely be back again.

Saturday, February 18th 2012: 11 miles @ 10:58 minutes per mile. This run totally made up for the misery earlier in the week. I ran on an easy dirt road instead of technical trails. I gained 1,023 feet instead of 3,000. And best of wasn't raining! I felt good and I think I could have gone farther or faster but I decided I'll save it for another building week next week. If schedules work out I'll plan to get in a 30 miler.

Seen any good movies lately?
Forks Over Knives was the first I've watched in a while, courtesy of Netflix.

Can you think of anything worse than eating cauliflour while listening to a duet with Michael Bolton and Celine Dion?
Seriously. I want to hear your best "Worst Thing Imaginable" comments. Winner gets 87 bonus points which aren't redeemable for a single thing. Speaking of winning, only a few more days for the giveaway.

Friday, February 17, 2012

My Funny Valentine

I got the cutest Valentine card from my 7 year old Kylee. It said:

I love you so mutch! I think you work rully rully hard!!! But this is an awored that I am giving to you for do so mutch for me!!! You are the best dad in the yuniversity!!!

I must say, I'm pretty happy to be considered the best dad in the yuniversity. I pretty much adore this little creature.

Isn't Valentine's Day awesome? You get to celebrate love by eating large quantities of chocolate!

Don't forget to enter the Most Incredible Giveaway Ever. (Do I have to surrender my Man Card by saying I like Coldplay?)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Most Incredible Giveaway Ever

I like me a good contest. And since I like me a good contest, I decided to host the Most Incredible Giveaway Ever. I got a collection of some of my favorite things to give away:

1) A Subway gift card
2) The new Coldplay CD “Mylo Xyloto” (one of my favorite new CDs)
3) My piano CD “You Will Soar
4) Some Vanilla and Tri-berry Gu (these are my favorite flavors)

Want to win the Most Incredible Giveaway Ever? Here’s how:

1) Be a blog follower. Just click the blue Join This Site button on the right side.

2) Leave a comment telling me your favorite place to run. (1 entry per comment, you can make more than 1)

3) Give a fastcory shout-out on your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (2 entries each, just leave a comment saying what you did)

That’s it. Easy. Winner will be chosen at random in one week on February 22nd. Good luck!

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Funny Whitney Houston Story (And Some Running)

Monday, February 6th 2012: 10 miles @ 11:13 minutes per mile. My alarm went off at 4:50am. To run. 10 miles. Before work. I am possessed by a demon. The real me would never, ever do this.

Tuesday, February 7th 2012: Rest.

Wednesday, February 8th 2012: 24 miles @ 12:15 minutes per mile. I started the run with the Hurricane Rim Trail. Although the scenery is incredible, I think this is a fairly challenging trail. There are spots that are pretty technical, at least for my clumsy feet.

I stopped back at my car after about 15 miles to refuel. If this won't cause a sugar crash, nothing will!

Two thumbs up for the phunkadelic clouds. I've learned that it's hard to take a good picture without some clouds.

Later I ran some side trails (I don't believe they have a name). I think the hardest part of the run wasn't the 24 miles, it was the 3,285 foot elevation gain on tricky trails. I was feeling pretty tired by the end, but gave a little kick at the end and my last mile was the fastest - 8:50.

Thursday, February 9th 2012: 6 miles @ 11:17 minutes per mile. I was surprised how good I felt after running 24 miles the day before. I spent my time dodging cars. There were some positively crazy drivers on the road that night.

Friday, February 10th 2012: Rest.

Saturday, February 11th 2012: 20 miles @ 11:43 minutes per mile. I had my first experience running on Little Creek Mesa. I met up with Matt Gunn, the race director for the Zion 100, and Justin Nelson, the only other person from Utah who ran the Javelina Jundred. (FYI: They are fast.) (FYI: I'm not fast.)

I really enjoyed hearing about the planning for the Zion 100 from Matt. I think it's going to be such an awesome race. The trail up to the top of the mesa includes some cool views of the Kokopelli Golf Course down below. To get an idea of how high you climb in the first mile, here is what my car looks like from above:

I stuck with the speed demons for 4 miles before sending them on their way and I did another 16 at a slower pace. There were lots of birds flying around for some reason. Fortunately I don't think they were vultures.

I finished my last two miles around the golf course and liked the scenery with these amber waves of grain weeds.

The 60 miles I did this week felt pretty hard, with a total of 7,198 feet climbing. I seem to be recovering from the runs pretty quickly which I am thankful for.

In completely unrelated news......apparently Whitney Houston died this week.

Want to hear a funny story? The jukebox at the local bowling alley used to have Whitney's song "I Will Always Love You" on the song list. (Before the bowling alley closed a year or two ago.) So my brother-in-law and I would go bowling and take a pocket full of quarters. We would pop tons of quarters in and play "I Will Always Love You" over and over again. (FYI: that song is like 9 minutes long!) It was hilarious to watch bowlers get so angry when they had to listen to repeats of Whitney Houston.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I Almost Went Chuck Norris On A Guy

I remembered a situation that happened a few years ago that was pretty funny (and by "pretty funny" I mean "very scary".) I'm deeply grateful I lived to tell about it.

One night Mel and I went on a casual bike ride. I was going down a hill on the side of the road minding my own bees wax when a car pulled up behind me and laid on the horn. I thought it must be one of my friends being obnoxious. But after 10 seconds of honking I turned around to see this punk kid who then sped past me.

I was slightly irritated (and by "slightly irritated" I mean "I am going to go Chuck Norris on this guy.") Then I saw him pull into the gas station a block ahead. I decided to pull in too and let him know that his dirt bag behavior wasn't very cool. Well it just so happens that as he was pulling into the gas station, he honked at someone else because their door was opened and he couldn't get by (FYI: he could get by.) Thankfully some other patrons saw him being a punk too.

So I pulled my sissy bike up behind his car and waited for him to get out. But when he did, a significant amount of my bravery evaporated. I realized maybe I bit off more than I could chew. It was a punk teenager with six earrings and an attitude. He looked grumpy and mean. I said "Why were you honking at me?" He said in a mega-sassy voice "Cause you were in the middle of the road!" (FYI: I wasn't in the middle of the road.)

So then I said "Oh yea? Why don't you say that to my face! I'm about to give you a five-knuckle introduction. I'll put a goose egg on your head big enough to have an umbilical cord!"

Disclaimer: I did say the previous sentence to him. In my head.

The other people who saw him honking chimed in, nearly matching the punk's sassy voice and said to him "The world doesn't revolve around you!" Then a bunch of 4-letter words started flying. Seriously. They were about to go Jerry Springer on each other. I figured that was my cue to leave.

I'm sure he was scared to death when he saw me. My enormous muscles intimidate most people. I'm guessing this will be the last time he messes with someone who looks this terrifying:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A First Group Trail Run

Last week I mentioned scheduling a beginner trail run. I really wanted to show people firsthand the amazing scenery that is almost in our backyard. 15 people with varying speed and ability showed up and I had a blast with everyone. Some runners had never been on a trail before so I gave a few tips before we started:
  • Keep in mind that your pace will be slower than road running because of the hills and constantly changing running surface. That's okay. Don't worry about it.
  • Shorten your stride compared to how you run on the road.
  • Keep some space between you and the runner in front of you so you can keep a good view of what's coming up on the trail.
  • Stay focused. As soon as you stop paying attention to what you're doing, you will sprain an ankle or get a mouth full of dirt. (Yes, lesson learned the hard way.)
A few runners wanted to take advantage of the views to get a jumping picture. Elizabeth Dansie was the first to put her rubber band legs to the test:

I was also impressed by the smooth finesse of Aimee Langston (with some loving coaching from her husband Josh in the background):

Followed by Ultraspire Cool Kid On The Block Cherie Santiago. She eats pogo sticks for breakfast:

At the turnaround point some runners decided to go farther. I took a splinter group on a side trail to show them an amazing overlook. Thanks to the self-timer, you can't see that we're standing on the edge of a cliff. I am ever so grateful that my wife standing next to me decided she wouldn't push me off:

Cherie and Karrie Nielson were screaming down the trail so fast that I barely had time to take a picture of them mid-stride. This picture was in no way staged. I promise. No way. (At least by me.)

I had lots of fun talking with friends like Alex Santiago and Logan Murphy during the run. It made our seven miles go by very quickly.

One of the runners suggested we should get a group jumping picture. We caught as much air as a jumping filing cabinet:

I can't figure out if my friend Jason Smith on the far left is Spiderman or a ninja. Either way, I wouldn't want to mess with him. I had so much fun on our totally casual, no-pressure, introductory trail run. The only thing that needs to be changed is to have donuts at the end. Next time. Next time.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Running With A Morbidly Obese Cow

"With the marathon, you don't swing for the fences on your first try. It's a race you've got to learn. It takes time to master the feeling of a marathon." ~ Keith Hanson, co-founder of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project

Monday, January 30th 2012: 6 miles @ 10:49 minutes per mile. Later that night I did 5 miles @ 9:29 minutes per mile. I don't know what happened Monday night. My body felt like Usain Bolt freakishly good and seemed to hold up to going faster (I know, "faster" is relative). Can I still keep my Runner Membership Card if a 9:29 pace feels like speedwork?

Tuesday, January 31st 2012: Rest. I am starting to really like the idea of doing two runs in a day which sets up an extra rest day. I think I will be doing this more.

Wednesday, February 1st 2012: 22 miles @ 11:58 minutes per mile. I started out by running the Gould's Rim Trail again. After my first experience with it last week I was anxious to go back and run the whole thing. Some sections are fairly technical but the scenery is amazing.

After doing an out-and-back on Gould's, I stopped at my car to refill water and eat a pack of Hostess Crumb Donettes, then finished the rest of the miles on the Jem trail. I came across a herd of cows hanging out on the side of the trail and dodged a number of their pies.

LinkThey were close enough that I was worried they would come after me which would cause me to curl up into fetal position, start crying, and sucking my thumb, but thankfully they stayed put. Heck, they didn't even moo at me. I spotted this cow that made me laugh. Tell me this is not the funniest looking, mostest morbidly obese cow you have ever seen:

In the last few miles some cloud cover rolled in and made some highly awesome lighting. Standing there on the trail watching the clouds roll over me was so pretty that I got goosebumps.

I was a little surprised how good I was feeling as the miles ticked by. The last few miles were some of my fastest. When I finished the run I was tired and sweating like a dog but still felt good. But it didn't tickle when battery acid salt was dripping into my eyes.

On the way home, the devil on my shoulder said I needed to stop at the gas station to buy a fat, ice cold Coke. I was slightly embarrassed because of my apparel. Nobody should enter a gas station wearing tights and flashy gaiters on their shoes. But a man's got to do what a man's got to do. So I stopped.

Thursday, February 2nd 2012: Rest.

Friday, February 3rd 2012: 6 miles @ 10:49 minutes per mile. My legs and feet were feeling a little sore from the long run. Plus it was dark, windy, and cold and my body was upset that I dragged it out of bed so early.

Saturday, February 4th 2012:
7 miles @ 10:55 minutes per mile. This was our first group trail run and we had lots of fun. I'll post some pictures in the next day or two.

What animals have you encountered while running?
I've seen tons of jack rabbits and cows plus a few snakes, frogs, and foxes.

What is your favorite mid-run snack?
I eat plenty of Gu, but I prefer real food. If Hostess Crumb Donettes qualify as "real food". I realize that is debatable.

Do you have soda on your list of bad habits?
Yes, I know it's not good for me but it's my one guilty pleasure. (Unless you count crumb donuts. Then I have two guilty pleasures.)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hostess - The Fuel Of Champions

A few days ago I did a long trail run. After around 10 miles, I stopped back at my car to get some more water. I also indulged in the best mid-run food, um, EVER:

Real men fuel with donettes.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Beginner Trail Run Coming Saturday

Just a quick reminder about the beginner trail run coming up this Saturday. We'll meet at my house in Hurricane at 9am (email me at for more details) and drive a few minutes to a section of the Jem trail.

We will run around 6 miles. If you've been interested in trying a trail run, this will be a good opportunity to see some amazing scenery on a trail that isn't too intimidating. Here is where we'll be:

On a related note, the Zion 100 Ultramarathon now has a link you can click to volunteer at an aid station for the race or volunteer to be a pacer for a runner! (The Volunteer tab on the top right of their page.) I think it will be an incredible experience to be involved with this inaugural race. Guaranteed fun for all! Be sure to check out for more info!